JUST one refugee family from Afghanistan is being permanently housed in Southend, despite urgent pleas for private landlords to come forward, it has been revealed.

A team at Essex County Council is in charge of finding suitable homes for refugees who fled the Taliban in recent months, but a “lack of social housing” is halting their progress.

As it stands, only one home has been found in Southend, alongside 18 across the rest of the county, and another five in Thurrock.

The locations of the 18 homes have not been revealed.


This comes as around 90 Afghanistan refugees were temporarily housed in the Park Inn Palace, and remain at the hotel.

Staff at the Park Inn Palace told the Echo the refugees are “no problem”, and there are no issues with the venue becoming too full for bookings.

Tony Cox, leader of Southend Tories, said: “This comes as no surprise, we have a shortage of social housing.

“We also need to lower our waiting lists, but we can’t do that if there’s no social housing.

“I really hope the refugees find somewhere permanent.”

The Echo previously revealed how Basildon Council said it would not offer any council houses to Afghanistan refugees to live in permanently.

Southend Council recently accepted 27 unaccompanied child asylum seekers to the town, after Kent County Council ran out of room.

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council, said: “The community response to support vulnerable Afghan families has been astonishing, as have the efforts of council officers, the local business community and the Park Inn Hotel who have been housing so many families in the bridging accommodation.

“Our efforts are also focused on securing the right types of housing for those who will make Southend their home, and I’m delighted that we are represented on this taskforce.

“I would urge local private landlords who may be able to help to get in touch with our housing team.”

Kevin Bentley, leader of Essex County Council, added: “Our mission is to secure the right sort of housing to ensure they get the best possible start to life in the UK. Some private landlords have already contacted the councils.”